DJ ADUB (of the Dubstep Mafia) was sitting next to me on the NJTRANSIT Atlantic City line. We watched Southern Jersey fly by as the grass slowly turned from green and lush to swamp and sand as we arrived at our destination. The city was an East Coast Mount Rushmore with towering buildings that shot up out of the flat landscape and loomed over us like the faces of dead presidents.
I threw down my heavy bag in the hotel and laid out my gear on the table as the DJs crafted their sets for the night. I was here to shoot the “Blood Rave” hosted by ADUB and his fellow DJ, Mop Top. In just a few short hours fake blood would be spraying down on a crowd of ravers and I’d be desperately trying to keep it off my camera.
We stepped out from underneath the towering hotels and casinos and over to a venue called The Boneyard. I stood outside feeling pretty good about this place. Tipsy smokers stood outside the sticker covered windows that were reminiscent of my favorite Philadelphia dive-bars. The three of us did a round of Tequila shots. And then another. With beer in our hands, we were prepared to make an unforgettable night for everyone.
As the show began, droplets of blood started pouring from the ceiling as the bass pounded our tequila soaked brains. Hard bodies lined the dance floor jumping and grinding to the beat. I kept hearing the phrase over and over, “WHAT A SHITSHOW!!”
“Shitshow” falls into a category reserved specifically for redundancy and understatements. At one point while dodging raining blood, I was handed an entire bottle of whiskey and told to chug. My vision was starting to blur and my legs went numb as I jumped around snapping photos. Bodies were pressed against each other while others made out quietly in the corner drenched in red. Then, just like that, 5am was upon us. A few of us sat around the bar doing more shots, laughing at the promoter (who was celebrating his birthday), as he passed out on the freshly mopped floor.
The next morning I shook the cobwebs loose as I parted ways with ADUB and got on the first bus to New York. It was still early in the day so I decided to soak in the big city for a few hours before the next gig. I spent most of the day simply walking around and I decided to bee-line it for lower Manhattan since DJ Mop Top was going to be playing at a lounge on Allen Street called People. After a brisk walk through Chelsea and Greenwich Village, I made a quick stop to rest and people-watch at Washington Square Park before moving on.
The sky opened wide and poured down on me, reminding me of the previous night’s exploits as I got to the bar. To my surprise, Jayne Doe was there and we got talking with the Argentinian bartender named Roman. We watched the traffic pass by outside the window and talked about Philadelphia with Roman as the sounds of indie folk and the aura dim candle light slipped me into a state of pure bliss. Mop Top arrived at 10pm and killed it for a second night in a row while our new-found friends hit the dance floor. Eleven rolled around, and with a glance to her watch Jayne packed all of us into a taxi and we headed north for Kat Face.
Tanner Caldwell welcomed us as old friends, with a warm smile and plenty of words regarding how glad he was to see us. We were all clad with whiskers and little black dots on our noses. Jayne Doe in a rare moment of reckless abandon squealed like a kid on Christmas when she saw cages to dance in mounted on the walls. She bolted off for them immediately and with a chuckle I set out to photograph the event. As a photographer, the crowd at a Kat Face Party (regardless of the venue) is always generous to my lens.
Since I’ve lent my pen and Nikon to TD2BD, my best photo set was the last Kat Face party. I could tell this was going to be the case yet again as I was capturing some pretty amazing moments and memories. A girl in a dress threw caution to the wind as she straddled a railing upside down and smiled for a photo despite flashing all of us. The bartender was a tall, slender, and outgoing man in a bowtie with a mustache that could make Salvador Dali jealous. My energy was up and the party eventually came to a close and we shuffled outside into the drizzling rain of the wee morning hours of New York City. After a quick bite to eat at a Manhattan diner we jumped on the bus back to Philly and I finally fell to sleep.
The bottom line:
DJ ADUB and Tanner Caldwell will be DJing from 12 to 2 at our first TD2BD event at Medusa Lounge so I felt it was only appropriate to take the time to go on a Tri-State Tour one weekend and report from the front lines the kinds of parties these guys throw. I’m absolutely stoked to have these guys headlining our party at Medusa Lounge. I’ll be photographing and the gang here at TD2BD will be making memories as we all spiral into debauchery and dancing. Can’t wait to see you there.